In theory, spending every waking moment with the one you love sounds like bliss, but in practice I’ve always been an advocate of finding balance in a relationship. The key to successfully navigating the bond between two romantically involved people is understanding that, in addition to having a life together, you have to both actively work on your lives outside of each other. My thought is, maintaining your individualism and the interests that come along with that allow you to have more meaningful conversations and leaves ample room for growth. 

The same applies to a marriage. But there’s a new dynamic to consider after you jump the broom: privacy. Unless you’re shacking up, most daters have separate abodes and plenty of opportunities to indulge in quality time with themselves. However, when you’re hitched or share a living space with your partner, the “we” time often outweighs the “me” time.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love the Mrs. more than anything. But after a long day at the office and an even longer commute home, sometimes all I need is a few minutes to myself. But that’s sometimes hard to come by when you live with someone. While the majority of our home is communal space, I’ve found the one place where I can truly be alone with my thoughts is the bathroom.

While even that hiding place could be invaded by the wife (nowhere is really off limits in a marriage), it’s my best shot at privacy on a regular basis. Much like Al Bundy from Married With Children, the bathroom is a sanctuary for me. Since I don’t have a traditional man cave, it’s the one place in the home where I can just stand still and be alone with my thoughts. And trust me, that’s something every person needs.  

My wife and I are two completely different people. While she thrives in her personal pockets of disarray (sorry, babe), I’m the type of person who needs quiet to channel my creativity. So I’ve found most of my best ideas forming in my little fortress of solitude. Truth be told, that’s where the idea for this post came from.

While the Mrs. may rib me for taking so long in the bathroom, it’s not what she thinks. I don’t need more fiber in my diet and I didn’t have any bad sushi for lunch. All I need (like anybody else) is some personal space. That doesn’t mean I love her any less; it’s just that I require my fair share of “me” time. 

The stresses of my day require me to deal with a million different personalities in any given day. Before I can flip that work switch off and transition back into a dutiful husband, I need to hit the reset button. I don’t want to immediately talk about my day or hear about hers as soon as I walk through the door. That’s not meant to be rude or insensitive, it’s just the cold hard facts.

So while Al Bundy might not have won any Husband of the Year awards, he was on to something—a man (or a woman) needs a place to call his (or her) own. Whether it’s a basement or garage for some, or the bathroom for others, finding solace in your solitude is key to growing as a person and within your relationship. Besides, a few behind-closed-doors secrets are necessary every now and again—especially when that door leads to the bathroom.

Mr. and Mrs. Rocque are the couple formerly known as Anslem Samuel and Starrene Rhett, journalists who found love in between bylines. Follow the newlyweds’ musings of a marriage in progress here, on Twitter and via their joint blog.